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Texting Tip 2 - How Should You Reply?

January 20, 2013
A reader recently asked
" said that a female should only be responding to a man's text. So, when responding, does she ask a question to keep the conversation rolling or just give an answer?"
This is a good question. In light of what I've written about not initiating contact, or cutting men off, I can see how a girl might think she should give only very short responses - or even ignore his texts sometimes, in order to see how hard he will persist to get a response.

However, if you extend that way of thinking to its logical conclusion, you end up with a situation in which you are essentially silent, and the man pursues you continually, with no feedback whatsoever. And of course, this would never happen, because after a couple weak responses, a man will simply accept the fact that he has been rejected and move on. This is not speculation; it happens to men all the time when they get phone numbers from girls who aren't all that interested in them. It's happened to me a few times. When a girl doesn't reply, the obvious conclusion is not "It's worth another shot because I really like her," it's "Fuck, well, she clearly isn't enthusiastic enough to continue talking... no sense trying again." Some guys will persist just because they figure they have nothing to lose, but a man who respects himself and has options won't try endlessly.

So there needs to be some kind of balance between not taking the initiative (which you shouldn't) and showing too little enthusiasm in your replies. I suggest you follow these rules:
  1. Never initiate a text conversation
  2. Always be enthusiastic in your responses
  3. Give him an opportunity to continue the conversation any time he gives you one. 
In other words, follow his lead. If a man has taken the initiative, he has already demonstrated his interest, so there's no need to test him further (in that way, at least). He wants to engage you in conversation, so you need to give him positive feedback if you want the conversation to continue. Otherwise, he will read between the lines and give up. So be authentic; show your interest openly.

Take a look at the example in the picture, which is a text conversation I had a few days ago with a girl I met last Saturday night in Clarendon. She'd only been out in DC before, not in Clarendon (a DC suburb) hence the first text I sent the next day. Her text savvy is solid. Just to avoid any ambiguity, I've underlined in red the opportunities she provided for me to continue the conversation, and noted with "[No Question]" the one time when she did not offer such an opportunity. It probably wasn't a coincidence that she failed to do so right after I made a comment without giving her a lead (see rule #3, above).

Also notice her clear enthusiasm to be exchanging texts. She uses smiles and exclamation points liberally, and is fairly verbose in her replies. There are no single word answers, even when only a single word was strictly necessary. While you don't need to be be this enthusiastic to let a guy know you are interested, it is better to err on the side of more rather than less, especially when using such a bland communication medium (as opposed to talking on the phone or interacting in person).

I am not suggesting that you analyze each and every text a guy sends you, consider these rules, then calculate your responses. But I am suggesting that you use these rules to understand the general disposition that you should have towards a man who initiates a text conversation with you, and then use that disposition to guide your replies.

Related Posts
1. Don't Initiate Contact
2. Other Texting Tips
3. Should You Give a Guy Your Last Name?

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